By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – As volunteers from ReGreen Springfield and members of the city’s Forestry Division lowered a new Autumn Brilliance serviceberry tree into the ground, City Forester Edward Casey noted how the tree will not only will add beauty to Wilmont Street but the shade it will provide will help save energy.
Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal joined Casey and Robert Coates, vice president of Electric Field Operations at Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO), to announce the planting of 28 shade trees along the residential street in the Forest Park neighborhood.
Coates called the collaboration a “unique opportunity.” He explained a number of trees had to be removed on the street due to age and disease and the company provided the funding to ReGreen Springfield for the new trees.
He explained the selected trees have root systems that would not disturb underground utility lines and would be easy to prune so the limbs would not create issues with overhead power lines.
Casey told Reminder Publications besides the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry, there would be Emerald City tulip trees, Japanese tree lilacs and Royal Raindrops flowering crabs.
The trees flower at different times and he said they would be “flowering throughout the season.”
Neal noted the tree planting was on Earth Day and said the first Earth Day in 1970 was a “transformative moment.”
He added, “It changed everything in America.” He said, “In 2015, America will be the largest energy exporting nation on Earth” and noted that North Dakota will be producing more oil that Prudhoe Bay Oil Field in Alaska.
Neal noted that as the city’s mayor he emphasized the planting of trees and during the time of his administration in the 1980s Springfield had more trees than Worcester, Hartford, Conn. and Providence, R.I. had combined.
Sarno explained that replanting trees after the June 1, 2011 tornado was a priority and Casey estimated that about 5,000 trees had been planted after the tornado.